Rosalynn McGinnis is a 33-year-old woman from Oklahoma who has come forward to tell a story of her unimaginable ordeal at the hands of a man she should have been able to trust — her own stepfather, Henri Piette, 62. According to the account McGinnis gave to People Magazine, which may be read in full at this link, Piette abducted her when she was only 12-years-old, hiding her away at various locations in Mexico and the United States, abusing her every single day — and forcing her to bear nine of his children.
Though McGinnis finally managed to flee Piette’s clutches last year, taking eight of her nine children with her, it took until last week for authorities to catch up to the man she describes as an unspeakable monster. Piette was arrested and charged with first-degree rape, lewd molestation of a child, and physical abuse of a child, according to court documents cited in a report by The Oklahoman newspaper.
McGinnis had gone missing at the age of 12 on January 31, 1997 — the day that she says Piette kidnapped her. But his torment of her began much earlier, starting when McGinniss was only 10-years-old. At that time, according to an account on a GoFundMe page set up to aid McGinniss and her children, Piette began “grooming” her for sexual abuse.
Kidnapped at 12 and Held Captive for 19 Years: How Rosalynn McGinnis and Her 9 Kids Are Coping Af… https://t.co/J9RI7d1VYm
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When she was 11-years-old, Piette forced the young girl to “marry” him in a sham wedding ceremony officiated by one of Piette’s sons, according to the accounts. Less than a year later, he abducted her in front of her school and began forcing her into labor, including begging on the street, as he raped her daily, beat her with baseball bats, and even shot her, according to the account McGinnis gave to People. McGinniss’s mother had already left Piette to escape his abuse.
“After being introduced to Piette’s other children as their new mother, they began travelling to numerous locations throughout the United States and abroad including Texas, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico,” an FBI report stated.
“McGinnis stated that she was sexually assaulted multiple times a day almost every day while she was with Piette,” court documents say.
But even after McGinnis escaped from a tent where she and the children were held captive by Piette, finding her way to a United States embassy in Mexico, Piette remained free. The FBI said that the stepfather “has deep ties to criminal organizations in Mexico, which can assist him in evading law enforcement….Piette was contacting persons who aided Rosalynn’s escape from Mexico and threatening these individuals.”
Watch Rosalyn McGinniss tell her story to People Magazine in the following video.
— PeopleTV (@peopletv) September 12, 2017
Despite his alleged connections to criminal gangs in Mexico, that’s where Piette was arrested and subsequently extradited to the United States where he now waits to face the charges against him.
McGinnis was forced to bear her nine children without proper medical care, and no money to raise them. She told People that she supported the kids, who range in age from two to 17 years old, by, among other things, selling homemade ice cream on the street.
Though she had been too terrified to escape from her frightening captor for years, she was finally left with no choice, she said, after she became ill and required what turned out to be a primitive and crude gallbladder surgery. Even as she was recovering and in extreme pain, Piette forced her to resume her daily regimen of hard labor on his behalf.
— Walk Toward The Fire (@RichardRSmithJr) October 9, 2017
“I knew that if I didn’t get out of there,” she told the magazine, “I’d either go insane or I would end up dying and leaving my kids with that man.”
She escaped with help from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, but not before living in hiding for two months before safe passage could be arranged for her and the children back to the United States. She now lives somewhere in the midwest, according to the People report.
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